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Utah Jazz basketball: Will the Jazz make the playoffs?

Published: Tuesday, Oct. 30 2012 3:55 p.m. MDT

If the Jazz were on trial for how well they'd do this year, the jury would be hung. Analysts from all over the country are predicting vastly different outcomes for a once-again revamped Jazz squad.

In NBA.com's power rankings, the Jazz slide in at no. 12, but they also say that nobody really knows how good this team will be, so it's basically a shot in the dark. Whether or not the Jazz are actually that good will likely be answered early in the season. After playing the bruised, battered Dallas Mavericks and the rebuilding Hornets, the Jazz will play the Spurs, Grizzlies, Lakers and Nuggets, all in succession.

The only team among these that was not in the playoffs last season was the Hornets, though they did make it as a 7-seed the year prior.

If the Jazz are going to improve, they'll have to do it on the road, and eight of the team's first 11 games are on the road. The Jazz struggled to win on the road last year, winning just 3 of their first 16 and finishing 11-22 overall while not in Salt Lake City.

Former member of the Utah Jazz and current Jazz broadcaster Matt Harpring has the Jazz making the playoffs as the No. 8 seed if they can fend off the Minnesota Timberwolves and Golden State Warriors. "I like the youth and depth of this team," Harpring wrote. "When healthy and with the right lineups, Jazz can beat anyone."

The Jazz will open the season with a roster similar to the one that made last year's playoffs as an 8-seed. The additions of veterans Mo Williams, Randy Foye and Marvin Williams, however, give the Jazz some much needed 3-point shooting and experience.

Last season the Jazz made just 4.1 threes per game, third worst in the NBA and shot just 32.3 percent from deep, fourth worst in the league. Foye, Mo and Marvin will combine to make 4.1 3-pointers per game on 38.7 percent shooting from beyond the arc last season. Yahoo sports contributor Mark Hawkins says with these additions, the Jazz should make the playoffs with a 43-39 record. Much of the team's success depends on how its young players develop this season.

"Alec Burks, Derrick Favors, Gordon Hayward and Enes Kanter may all see a little extra playing time this season," Hawkins wrote. "The amount of improvement that these young players exhibit will not only determine the amount of success that the Jazz experience, but it may also impact what Utah's roster may look like at the end of the season."

Not all analysts are high on the Jazz. Only one of three analysts at CBS Sports, Zach Harper, has the Jazz making the playoffs this season. Harper has the Jazz getting in as the seventh seed but losing to the Denver Nuggets in the first round in just five games.

CBS Sports, however, have the Jazz winning enough games to earn more than just a spot in the playoffs. Their prediction is that Jazz head coach Tyrone Corbin will be named Coach of the Year. Jazz fans undoubtedly remember how Corbin inherited a Jazz team after Jerry Sloan's mid-season retirement and the trading of Deron Williams. They certainly also remember how Corbin helped the Jazz make the playoffs with a young roster, no training camp and a shortened preseason for the 2011-12 season. This is Corbin's first full season leading the team.

Corbin might be Coach of the Year and the Jazz could possibly make the playoffs again, but this point, it's all just pure speculation. The Jazz should begin to show what we can expect when they host the Dallas Mavericks Wednesday at 7:00 p.m.

EMAIL: bbullock@desnews.com

TWITTER: @BullockBlaze

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